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Worlds 1st Mind-controlled drone race takes place at University of Florida, USA

By - April 27, 2016
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Bernard Brzezinski

PHOTO: Bernard Brzezinski

It was a test of concentration and brainwaves for US students at the University of Florida during what was billed as the first mind-controlled drone race.

Sixteen competitors wearing special headsets measuring the electrical activity of their brains used their powers of concentration to send drones down a nine-metre course to the finish line.

University of Florida

BCI programs are used to assist paralysed patients in using controllable prosthetic limbs.

“You start thinking and you hear that motor kick up and you know it kind of kicks you into a different mental state so you have to focus,” said contestant Daniel Royer, a mechanical engineering student at the university.

Professor Juan Gilbert, chairman of the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Department at the University of Florida, said they had been doing research on BCI and decided to connect it to drones for the race.


“The implications are far beyond the race,” he said.

“It’s fascinating. It’s the first of its kind. It’s the future.”